Chapter 326: Another year passes
It was the day before the eve of the Lunar New Year when Xu Tingsheng returned to Libei. Mrs Xu had called everyday to rush him at first. Seeing that it just wasn’t working, she had simply stopped calling him, being in a huff as she refused to answer even when he called her back.
It was around 4pm when Xu Tingsheng entered the courtyard of the small, newly-built villa which was located not far away from their old house.
Mr Xu sat on a small wooden stool as he was in the midst of fixing a hoe which was getting rather loose, using a hammer to insert a nail into where the head of the hoe met its wooden handle after which he waved it a few times to test it out.
Mrs Xu was peeling winter bamboo shoots as they covered the floor beside her.
His little sister, Xu Qiuyu, was lying back on a reclining chair, lazily flipping through a book. Actually, her attention seemed not fully on it as she looked like she might fall asleep at any moment.
How did this remotely resemble a scene from the home of a family whose wealth had reached the hundred millions? It was clearly just an ordinary, humble farming family. Of course, days like these perhaps weren’t actually many.
It was just that the New Year allowed one to return to their roots.
“Yo, I’m back!” Having been paid no attention, Xu Tingsheng enthusiastically gave himself a warm welcome.
Xu Qiuyi tilted her head and glanced at him before ignoring him and turning away with a very disdainful look on her face. As for whether this was because her brother had returned late or due to her beloved senior Wu Yuewei, Xu Tingsheng dared not inquire into it.
“Mum, I’m back.”
Xu Tingsheng put down his bag and went over to Mrs Xu’s side, squatting down and helping her with peeling the winter bamboo shoots.
Mrs Xu raised her head and glanced at him, muttering, “And I’d almost forgotten that I have a son.”
Xu Tingsheng shot a pleading glance at his father. Mr Xu just smiled, not saying anything.
He surely would not dare to speak up on Xu Tingsheng’s behalf at a time like this. As Happy Shoppers gradually developed, the time that Mr Xu spent at home had also diminished greatly. Currently, the state of affairs was such that he might be drawn into the line of fire if he wasn’t careful.
Overall, father and son did not have a very high position in their family at the moment.
Xu Tingsheng was ranked last, Mr Xu second last.
After a while, Zhong Wusheng brought Sis Jia back from a prenatal checkup. Only then did Xu Tingsheng find someone who was willing to talk to him.
Actually, Zhong Wusheng had already bought a house in the county two plus months ago, with the renovation having been completed as well. Still, as Sis Jia was expecting and Mrs Xu was afraid that he as a man would not be able to take care of her properly, she had persuaded the two of them to stay, only moving over to their new home after Sis Jia had spent a month or so recuperating from childbirth.
“Tingsheng, you should find one fast after graduating from university,” Holding her big stomach, Sis Jia smiled at Xu Tingsheng, “Auntie has treasured even me this much. She’ll definitely be even more diligent with her daughter-in-law then. As I see it, Auntie already really desires a grandchild.”
Xu Tingsheng smiled, saying nothing. He secretly stole a glance at Mrs Xu, his mood instantly turning rather complex.
In his previous life, his father had died rather early on. Due to their deep relationship, his mother had staunchly held on, single-handedly and painstakingly raising her daughter and son.
As a traditional woman, she naturally hoped for the extension of the Xu family’s bloodline. Otherwise, she would not be able to account for things to Mr Xu.
Yet, Xu Tingsheng had not married even at the age of thirty-one. Mrs Xu knew that he was troubled and dared not press him. Still, that envious expression and those helplessly unsaid words every time she looked at other people’s grandchildren, that sigh every time she prayed to Mr Xu...Xu Tingsheng had actually seen and heard all of it.
It was deep guilt and pain that he was feeling.
Mrs Xu heard Sis Jia’s words too.
“But of course! When the year has passed, he will be twenty-one already. If he weren’t attending university, now would be the time for him to marry and have children. Those in the village of the same age as him who aren’t attending university-two of them already have kids,” Mrs Xu said.
“I hear that even university students can get married and have kids now? I remember hearing before that it’s allowed by the country,” Zhong Wusheng said.
“Really?” Mrs Xu rubbed her hands and stood up, looking enthusiastically at Zhong Wusheng.
Receiving a definite response, Mrs Xu waved a hand with a flourish, “Well, how great! Hurry up then, lest I’m so free at home everyday that I don’t know what to do. Anyway, with me watching over things, it won’t hinder you from attending university. Also, you father and son have forged such a large family business-isn’t it to be passed down generation by generation to your later descendants? What would it be for otherwise? ..There’s more than enough for we ourselves anyway.”
Mrs Xu did not seem to be joking. In this life, with the Xu family doing so well, she was already living a carefree, peaceful life very early on. It seemed like she really was ‘so free at home she didn’t know what to do’, hence desiring a grandchild prematurely now.
Also, Mrs Xu was a traditional woman, having lived all her life in a village environment where even the tiled house and tiny plot of land were things to be passed down from generation to generation. As she saw it, familial assets were meant to be passed down. Otherwise, they would be completely meaningless.
Moreover, the Xu family’s current assets were so great.
At this moment, Xu Tingsheng suddenly remembered that agreement with Li Wan’er who was far away in Milan, she who had personally said that she wanted to give birth to a child for him. Within his mind unconsciously surfaced scenes of her coming to Libei and sitting in this very courtyard with a bulging belly as she was then doted on by Mrs Xu like a precious treasure…
“Don’t you agree, Tingsheng’s Dad?”
Seeing that Xu Tingsheng wasn’t saying anything, Mrs Xu switched to asking Mr Xu instead.
Mr Xu said utterly without principles, “That’s fine too.”
Fu Cheng returned disappointed once more.
Soon, Huang Yaming returned too.
Xu Tingsheng did not go out to meet with them as he tried hard to put up a good performance at home. It was only on the night of New Year’s Eve that he had finally regained a bit of a position in his family and he was no longer completely ignored at the dining table.
As compared to last year, the atmosphere at the Xu family home was not so bustling this year. Still, it was warmer and much more comfortable this time.
They had invited Happy Shoppers’ core employees and their friends for a meal in the afternoon this time, not at a hotel but at their home. Mrs Xu personally cooked while Mr Xu and his two children were responsible for serving the dishes. This seemed to have gradually become customary for the Xu family’s Happy Shoppers, a sort of culture for their enterprise.
The Xu family ate their reunion dinner that night merely with Zhong Wusheng and Sis Jia.
Having seen them several times in his previous life anyway, Xu Tingsheng basically did not watch much of the New Year Gala after dinner. He was just exchanging texts as well as calls.
Apple was passing the New Year alone in America. As they spoke on the phone, she said that Chinese Americans had quite the atmosphere during the Lunar New Year too. Also, the team from Tianyi had already come over, locating the best recording studio in New York. She had already begun recording the songs for her album.
Xu Tingsheng had previously sent her four songs via email. Adding on the song that he had initially left for her at Tianyi, there were five of them in total.
Still, having already gained a rather complete conceptual understanding of her own music, in consideration of the numerous styles and overall concept of the album, Apple had given up on two of them.
There was actually another reason why she could be this ‘arrogant’. Tianyi had indeed spared no effort in collecting songs for her debut album as they were willing to spend the money and make use of their connections.
Xu Tingsheng had inquired a little into this and learnt that two of these songs had actually been written by Tanya Chua. He was also aware that one of them would definitely be super popular.
Remaining in Nice, Ye Yingjing sent over a simple New Year’s greeting, and Xu Tingsheng returned a simple response in kind. The two tacitly left the matter of those photos unsaid.
Instead, when Mrs Xu received New Year’s wishes from Ye Yingjing via phone, the two chatted enthusiastically for a long time. When Mrs Xu asked, “I heard that you can get married and give birth to children in university now. Is that true?”
Xu Tingsheng felt so on edge, not knowing whether Ye Yingjing might be feeling awkward over there and how she might have responded.
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